Graduate School Letter of Intent

Updated December 28, 2022

A graduate school letter of intent is a short essay outlining a person’s achievements, skills, and goals within a certain field of study that would strengthen an application to a graduate school program within a given field. This type of letter of intent is also known as a “statement of purpose.” The committee that handles admissions will be looking for an applicant that expresses a genuine interest in their chosen field and can demonstrate that they would be a positive addition to the program.

A graduate school letter of intent should list the applicant’s skills, research/professional interests, and accomplishments and other areas of success within their field. Furthermore, any background information such as work/volunteer experience, previous studies, projects, essays, or programs and mentors one has worked with should be included to substantiate one’s passion for their field of study.

It’s important to note that each graduate school, and even each program there-within, will have slightly different rules and guidelines regarding the formatting of and required information in a letter of intent. Some may ask for a more personal touch while others require the focus to stay on academic and professional qualities, accomplishments, and goals.

What is Graduate School?

Graduate school is comprised of programs of study that are more advanced and that are concentrated on a specific field. A grad school degree focuses on building a student’s knowledge and skills in an academic discipline and will include producing original research in the field.

The term “graduate degree” is also often used to describe the attainment of a degree that focuses on building career and professional skills as well, but the proper term is a “professional degree.” Generally speaking, a grad degree can either be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the recipient will work in academia (professor) and/or research and development.

A professional degree allows a person to have a career in their chosen field – medicine (MD), law (JD), business (MBA), etc. Before going to grad school, students are usually required to have completed an undergraduate (or bachelor’s) degree in their field of study and, more often than not, will only be accepted if they maintain a high GPA.

Graduate School Letter of Intent – Sample

Justin Dale
8910 Elmdale Lane, Denver, CO, 80010
(555) 605-2244

November 18, 2019

University of Texas School of Law
727 E Dean Keeton St, Austin, TX, 78705
(512) 232-1101

To the admissions committee,

Long has it been a dream of mine to gain acceptance into the Juris Doctor Program at the prestigious Texas Law. I believe I have what it takes to be an outstanding lawyer and I feel that Texas Law’s world-class faculty will help me acquire the high-level analytical skills that will enable me to be the best lawyer I can be.

I obtained my BA in Statistics and Data Science, which is part of the Applied Mathematics Department at the University of Colorado. This program had an emphasis on inter- and cross-disciplinary training and, while the courses don’t directly apply to law school per se, I have been taught skills that are useful in areas such as insurance, psychology, social justice, and human rights. Furthermore, the in-depth knowledge that I gained from studying statistics has increased my ability, and my passion, for evidence gathering and problem-solving that will no doubt be of use while studying and practicing law. I maintained a 3.84 GPA throughout my years at CU and you can refer to one of my recommendation letters (from Prof. Garrison) to learn more about my dedication and competence as a student.

During the last semester of my undergrad and throughout the summer, I have been working as a legal assistant at Immigrant Defenders Law Center. I’m aware Texas Law doesn’t favor students who have work experience in the field, but I wanted to mention it if only to reaffirm my interest in law. Even in an assistant position it was very clear to me that law was a field for which my passion would only grow deeper. Not only did I get to learn the intricacies of a law office, but I realized that the power of the legal system is to be used to make a difference in someone else’s life and not to one’s personal benefit.

As I previously mentioned, a BA in Statistics and Data Science may not be one of the popular majors for a law student. However, I developed all the skills necessary to score well on the LSAT, such as reading comprehension and analytical and logical reasoning; my LSAT score was 161. I’m confident that with my education, work experience, and unwavering interest in law, I am a perfect fit for Texas Law. I hope you’ll strongly consider my application for the fall semester of 2020. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if any further information is needed.


Justin Dale